I just read Blindsight by Peter Watts.Good semi-horror sci-fi, but I was astounded by the illogic of its points.The point is, the author does not believe that consciouness or any form of sentience is necessary for an intelligent life form and that it is in fact bad for intelligence, as sentience makes you evaluate reality by your subjective view and feelings, while an intelligent, but absolutely nonsentient being would feel nothing thus evaluate everything objectively and free brain processing time that is used in Earthly lifeforms for sentience.
He argues for a sort of dualism where "feeling" is separate from sensing and processing information, he thinks that there is a difference between sensing for example "blue" and the wavelenght of the light.
The problem is, this makes absolutely no sense.What do you expect to percieve instead of red, the wavelenght of the light written in numbers before you?There is no evidence that our consciouness and feelings are anything other than the operation of the brain.You can argue that a computer also has electrons racing across its insides and it is not conscious.So?Even if you accept the unproven premises that computer is not aware on any (not even non free) level, this still makes no sense because common computer is not made to have a personality or think or experience.It is made to do the task it is programmed to and that's it.If you had a computer of enough power and know-how, you could program a conscious personality into it.Your brain or any sentient animals awareness source, on the other hand, is a product of natural evolution.It is supposed to be sentient.You can argue, religiously clinging to blind Darwinism without regarding other factors, that an automaton would be just as fit for survival as normal sentient life.So?If the automaton is intelligent enough to construct gigantic growing starships and time its movements to mammalian saccades so precisely that it is almost invisible to humans (like in the Blindsight), it would certainly come to an conclusion using its subcoscious, yet brilliant, intelligence that if it doesn't really exist, then its existence makes no sense, and commit suicide.What is the point of supporting nothingness?These beings would produce nothing, just contribute to the entropy of the universe, therefore they would come to a conclusion that they are just wasting universe's resources.Even a virus is more aware than them.A being that is as nonsentient as inanimate matter, yet possesing an automaton intelligence, would logically conclude that if it would be just as nonexistent whatever it was "dead" or "alive", it makes no sense to just continue wasting chemical processes.
This is only one of my problems with the "philosophical zombie" theory.The things above are irrelevant to reality, for all intents and purposes, a "zombie" is just as conscious as a real being, even if it makes no sense, the theory is harmless as long as it applies to hypothetical aliens and not to human beings.The thing that really creeps me out is that Watts and many other dualists who think like him, assume that everybody thinks like a normal, rational human being (which is ironically debatable in them), and that everybody else who deviates from the norm - autists (really creepy to me due to that I have many autistic traits and maybe I am even one), psychopaths, retarded people who cannot recognise themselves in the mirror or understand morality and even young children (!), are in fact just philosophical zombies who fake their own existence to the outside world, because these dualists think that empathy and self recognition in the mirror is essential for every conscious being.I find this extremely incorrect and creepy, because I have seen many severely retarded people, autists or babies and my pets who obviously display emotion that would make no sense to fake (such as pain,love or fear), yet do not meet the criteria that Watts and others thinks are essential for conscious beings.Even worse is that I remember when I was 1 year old, strangely, and it is obvious that I was not a zombie even if I had no understanding of morality etc...That man calls young children psychopathic and he means it.
What is evil about this?The fact that this stupid bull "philosophical" "theory" based on no empirical evidence can be easily used to justify infanticide, killing of autists and merciless murder of psychopaths who deserve to be judged fairly even if they are scumbags, we are not in the 21th century B.C.E, but in the 21th century.
He contradicts himself.He says that consciouness is necessary for art, yet claims psychopaths are zombies, even through many horrible psychopaths and serial killers with obviously no or little empathy make art, even if it is creepy; http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal...al_killer_art/ , something that is obviously not algorythm generated and would make no sense to make from a viewpoint of a mindless intelligent entity.Not conscious?Just because you are uncomfortable that there are and were people who for example, did things like complain that the screaming of tortured concentration camp inmates disturbs his children (mentioned in a comment on his blog as "evidence" that "there is something human missing and it is consciouness" from psychopaths) or killed and abused people just for fun and are just as sentient and conscious as you are, does not mean that they are some other, nonconscious forms of entities.It is easy and understandabled to confort yourself like this using the No True Scotsman fallacy full force (Yes, he ate a baby girl but he is a zombie.He is just an automaton, he doesn't feel anything.He is not really human.Humans don't do things like this), because it makes you believe that only people with empathy who don't do things like that are real and that the evil members of your species are just simulacra, not real thing.It is obvious that an automaton would not pleasure himself by sadism, that is a human thing.Even in those who have empathy it does't necessarily mean they reason like "normal" people, a pathological sadist can derive the most pleasure from the fact that he can imagine how his victims squirm and suffer, he can empathize with them, but empathy does not mean good.
But there is worse.
On another blog, there were commenters admiring someone's "brilliant solution" to the problem of evil.
It was "Something turns off your consciouness when you experience pain and then implants you false memories, and the people who suffer their entire lives are just zombies, therefore universe is just".
I hope I don't have to mention what is wrong with that reasoning.
And there is even worse: solipsism.Basically: "Everyone is a zombie, only ME exists".If I had the option to forbid and mind erase one belief system from the universe, I would erase solipsism.
Ironical, it is basically the epitome of psychopathic reasoning.Why should I care about anybody other if only I exist?